Unexpected Friends, Unexpected Blessings

Over the past few days, I have been in constant e-mail with a lady I have come to know in this grief journey. She lost her son almost a year ago and is having a difficult time with the anniversary approaching.This morning when I read her latest e-mail she was saying she was glad we are friends. This got me to thinking……………..

I have met many, many new people since our own personal D-Day. We have met other grieving parents, donor families, organ recipients, church friends, blogging friends and just so many more. I have come to love and cherish each person. Saturday at the 5K, I told one of the coordinators that I could not imagine making it this far without the love from certain people at LifeLink. I can’t imagine not having Tonya or Sherri to be there for my spastic texts and e-mails when I am having a rough day. What if I didn’t have my new church family to be there to pray for me when the going gets rough? What if I didn’t have the recipients I have met to give me hope when I have questions of why? What if I didn’t have Debbie or Kayla? What if I didn’t have any of them?????

I look back and reflect on how and why I have met them. I have met them because my son died. Plain and simple. No sugar coating it. We crossed paths because Richie died. Richie died. I more than likely would have never met these people if my son was alive. I would probably have not even listened to the news story on Kayla and Zack,, I would have never read a blog from another grieving parent. I would not have even thought about LifeLink or Donate Life. I really do not think I would have had the heart I do now to even listen to some of the stories these new friends have. I would not have wanted the stories of death to come into the protective bubble I thought I had.

Then my bubble burst. My heart became broken. And these people came in at the right times in my life to help me stand. They have not healed my broken heart but they have done a pretty good job at putting a band-aid over some gaping holes. With that being said……….

I would give up everyone of them for one more day with my son. I love them all dearly but if I had my son here today, I could live without them, And they would think the same of me. With the friends that I can be brutally honest with I tell them, “I love you but I could do without having met you this way!” The friends that are brutally honest with me tell me the same thing. We hate this life we have been given but are stronger because of the people we have met.

This Saturday, Jeff and I will be going to dinner with a new friend we met at the 5K. Another unexpected friend to add to our growing circle of love.

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Mary did you know?

We have all heard the song, Mary did you know. I have personally heard in hundreds of times. I was up most of the early morning with this song running through my head. I have been trying to relate or fathom the story of Jesus these past few weeks. I have often thought since my own son died, if I could be like God and sacrifice my son knowingly for the good of mankind. Think about? Could you see your son nailed to a cross?
I have often thought, why does God give some mothers the joy of a child and then take it away? He certainly knows the pain of losing a child. And yes, I know that we are not to question God. But when you lose a child, you question everything. And I mean everything.
Mary did you know talks about the miracles of Jesus and his great works. Very lovely song. This morning I cried for her. Did she know also that her son would be sacrificed? The pain she must have felt. The pain God must have felt. He knew that his son was going to die. I think sometimes how I would have felt these last 20 years if I had known that this son of mine was going to die on December 30,2013. Would I have even wanted to have those 20 years knowing I would now have a lifetime of pain left? Of course the answer is yes. But of course, I was not given a “date stamp” on my child like God was.
I guess what I am trying to say this morning is just think about it. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) He loved us that much that he gave his son. In no way whatsoever could I say that I would give one of my children for any one on this earth. I still have issues giving my son back to God! This morning I woke up just astounded by this. I have heard it over and over all my life. Gave his only begotten son. Gave his son for you and I. Unfathomable! But he did. And I have everlasting life. My son is in heaven with everlasting life!
I challenge each and every one of you to not just say that verse, but think on it. Let it roll around in your mind. God did something that not one of us, no matter how radically obedient, would do. Or at least for sure not something I would do. He gave his child, HIS CHILD!
This morning I wept tears of gratefulness and prayed many thanks to God for giving us this gift. This morning was the first time that I felt the pain he must have felt. This morning I just wept for Jesus.
Interesting how a song can get your mind working in a way that it never has before!
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The gift of life

I have often been asked why I share Richie’s story. It is for many reasons. I am not going to go into all of them now, but one of the main reasons is to advocate organ donation. My son lost his life, left this earth and our family. But through his selflessness, many others were given the chance to live. Live full, productive lives. Isn’t is amazing at the science of it? Marvelous in fact! Doctors can take a heart that has stopped beating and give it to someone else and it beats again!

Even though I am deep in grief and pain with Richie being taken too soon from us, I am so glad that he was able to help save lives. He kept others from feeling the pain of loss we are. He is a hero in my eyes. A giver of life after death. Richie’s heart still beats!

Please talk to your family about organ donation. Go sign up to be a donor. Give the gift of life!

Remembering his gift

A month or so my Aunt Judy was digging through some old papers of hers and found a poem. She called me and when I answered, I noticed her voice was very shaky. She said,”Punkie, I don’t know where this poem I have found came from but let me read it to you.” So she read the poem and we both cried. This poem was called To Remember Me. At the time she found it, I needed it most. I told her that I would get a copy of it later when I saw her. Things happened and I forgot about the poem. It amazes me that a poem that touched me so deeply, just as easily slipped out of my thoughts. While I was on the computer trying to find something fitting to post about how my son is a hero in my eyes for saving lives after his life ended, I found the poem Judy had shared with me.

I would like to share with you all the poem written my Robert Test. It is amazing and fitting and I almost feel as if I can hear it in Richie’s voice.

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Morning Breakdown

Today, we go to our first Donate Life event. Today, we honor our son. But last night, I started a breakdown. Jeff and I came home and we laid the things we had bought out so that we could make posters for Richie. I was all excited to make them and then it hit me. I am making posters for my son who has died. This is not the way it was supposed to be. I brought him into this world. I raised him. I watched him grow up and become a man. Richie wasn’t supposed to go before me. I was supposed to grow old and spoil his children. Cook Sunday dinners for all the family. I was supposed to sit around my table and look at all my children and their families and see the life I have worked for. None of my children were to go before me. They were supposed to be sitting at that table talking about me and what I was like. Not me and Jeff trying to figure out how to arrange letters and which phrase would be best to sum up our love and pride for Richie.

So I kind of lost my drive and Jeff was left to do most of it. When he was done I went to bed and tried to sleep. Luke’s dog barked all night. When the dog quit barking, the one bird that hates me was chirping. When the bird stopped the squirrels in the attic decided to hold a dance party. The cycle went on all night. Over and Over. So I couldn’t sleep which meant I was thinking even more about the unnatural order my life had taken.So I cried. And I sobbed. And I spent the whole night mourning the life I have now and the dream I will never get to see come true. I think I may have gotten an hours rest all night.

So I was up with the birds. Literally. I made sure Jeff got up for work and Luke up for class and then I started my breakdown. This one was a doozy. It started with tears, went into the tears that come in sobs. Let’s not forget the noise that you make that just sound like a dying cow. Then next we have the nose that runs like a stream. then it just falls into continuous tears that just flow no matter how hard you want to stop. This cycle went on and on. I got in the shower and it got worse. I went to get out of the shower and realized, I had conditioner still in my hair and had not even bathed. So back in the shower for another breakdown. I have cried all morning. I have cried hard.

I am still crying and sobbing huge sobs while typing this. It just won’t stop. But I will quit crying right before people start getting here to go with us. I will quit crying and paint on this brave strong face they all think I have. We will go and meet other families like ours that have a loved one who donated life. We will meet people who have been given the gift of life from others. The kids will walk in the family parade holding the signs we made. We will spend an evening of love and baseball. I will do it for my son who went out of order and I will do it to honor him.

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